Heart and Vascular Institute – Heart Rhythm Disorders (Electrophysiology)
An arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) can have many causes and be challenging to treat. Our electrophysiology team specializes in the heart’s electrical system and in treating and managing heart rhythm problems. As world leaders in treatment, research and national medical organizations, they’ve helped create care guidelines that are used nationwide. Our electrophysiologists are skilled in the latest proven techniques, and can often offer access to leading clinical trials of new and promising treatments.
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Abnormal heart rhythms can be treated with medication, ablation (creating scar tissue to block the signals causing arrhythmia) or implanted devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators. Procedures are performed in our electrophysiology laboratory using equipment that can map the heart's electrical circuitry.
Some of the services we offer include:
- Electrophysiology studies to see how well the heart’s electrical system is working.
- Routine checks for pacemakers or implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). A specialist in these devices reprograms them as directed by our doctors. We also offer remote monitoring.
- Atrial fibrillation ablation
- Catheter ablation, creating scar tissue to block electrical signals causing arrhythmia.
- Placement of pacemakers
- Placement of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs)
- Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) with a biventricular (BiV) device, which paces both the right and left ventricles of the heart at once.
- Managing and removing device leads as needed.
- Tilt table testing to find the cause of syncope, or fainting.
- Treatment for long QT syndrome and other disorders that can affect heart rhythm.
- Atrial fibrillation stroke risk reduction using the Watchman™ (left atrial appendage closure device).
The Watchman device is a newly approved left atrial appendage closure for those with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (a-fib). This device reduces the risk of stroke and the need for patients to take long-term blood thinner medications.
Those with this type of a-fib are at an increased risk of having a stroke, due to blood settling in the left atrial appendage, potentially clotting and traveling through the body to the brain.
The umbrella-like device is placed at the opening of this left atrial appendage, sealing it off. Once placed, blood can no longer enter the appendage and form clots, preventing the risk for stroke.
Penn State Heart and Vascular Institute offers a multi-disciplinary team to evaluate patients for the device, perform the implant procedure and continue to care for patients following the procedure.
For more information about Watchman:
Read Penn State Medicine article